Link Between Mental Health and Relationship Stress During COVID-19

February 04, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantine measures have no doubt taken a toll on the mental health and social wellness of many. The CDC states that stress can cause everything from anxiety and depression to physical sickness, and even changes in interests and desires.

All of these mental health issues can hamper even the hardiest of relationships, especially when there are limited outlets in which to find refuge (regular outdoor time, sports, friends, etc.). In the same light, relationships are important for mental health, and COVID-19 has put a strain on relationships with friends, acquaintances, and extended family.

In this article, we will look at some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected relationships and mental health.

Isolation During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has resulted in increased loneliness and isolation, which has hurt mental health and relationships for many. The lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing have taken us away from our normal social interactions, perpetuating relationship strain and mental health issues.

Human beings are social creatures; we need the "belonging, support, and purpose," that a wider community brings. To be abruptly separated from the majority of our physical connection with others can also separate us from an emotional connection with them, which leads to reduced mental wellness. Even if we live with others, our in-house relationships may suffer due to the increased anxiety, stress, and restlessness that come with it. 

Coping with Fear & Uncertainty 

Not only are people coping with sudden detachment from "normal living", but they are also operating under fear of themselves or loved ones becoming sick. A heightened influx of negative media will also stimulate anxiety, whether rational or irrational. This can severely impact both mental and physical health, especially when it comes to confronting a different point of view on the coronavirus topic, or potentially any sort of difference at all. Relationships fracture even more when fear - and the subsequent defense mechanisms of anger, retaliation or retreat - is brought to the table.

Relationship Quality Influences Mental Health During COVID-19

The connection between relationships and mental health is always strong, so it is no surprise that relationships have been a protective factor during COVID-19. Multiple studies have examined the connection between relationships and mental health during COVID-19. One study found that those with good relationships quality reported better mental health. Another study found that "relationship quality was related to mental health during COVID-19," with depressive symptoms increasing as relationship quality decreased. 

While COVID-19 has been a tough time for relationships and mental health, there are ways to find help, to reach out and begin to heal and connect. Isolation from the rest of the world can be seen as an opportunity to work on the relationships within your own home. Learn how to take time for yourself, how to connect with people more intentionally, and how to forgive more easily. And if you need help, ask for it! We hear you. We see you. We are ready for you. 

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